Monday, April 20, 2009

no winners tonight, particularly not us...

My thoughts about tonight's debate:

Ravenstahl put in an entirely uninspiring performance. He makes me think of just exactly what he is, a kid with a second rate education trying to sound impressive even though he is not fully sure what is going on. That said, he made no major gaffes and he had a surprising command of some facts. He made quite a few minor gaffes in my opinion, but you would need a seasoned, alert debater to catch those and turn them against Ravenstahl, and Pat Dowd was not that debater.

The point where Dowd did catch the Mayor flip flopping, on campaign reform, the Mayor simply toughed it out. Dowd was correct, the Mayor did a one eighty on camera, completely reversing what he had said previously. And by pretending he had not said it before, it did not seem like the Mayor was reversing himself. He flat got away with it.

There was a point where that situation was reversed. The Mayor tried to catch Dowd up on his support for the gun control bill that Dowd had spoken against, and then voted for. Dowd’s explanation that he was swayed by what police officers said was reasonable and somewhat convincing, but when the Mayor said “if you thought it was a bad bill, why not vote against it?”, I think the Mayor scored a little bit. Anyone undecided about whom to vote for did not get much help tonight.

Not to sound snooty, but I was not impressed with Carmen Robinson. She may draw off some African American voters, who probably were going to vote for Ravenstahl (no one seems to be able to explain why, at least not satisfactorily). If Dowd had made an effort to get the African American vote (even DeSantis showed up on Perrysville Ave) … but I guess Robinson being in the race might mean he loses by a few less percentage points.

There is at least one more televised debate. I hope Dowd throws caution to the wind, and goes for the jugular. He should start the debate pointing out that Ravenstahl is the beneficiary of being Mayor at the end of the first five year Act 47 plan, which destroyed Tom Murphy’s career, by the way. Dowd should hammer on what happens next, when we go into a new five year plan. How many police will we have to lay off this time? Will the State step in and appoint an executive to run the City because Ravenstahl obviously can’t? These are the things I would say if I were Pat Dowd. Maybe they aren’t totally fair, but since when did fair matter in politics? The trick is to go for our gut.


Infinonymous said...

On the list of the top half-dozen factors that destroyed Tom Murphy's political career (as well as the city), nothing involving Act 47 would have made my list. What about the Act 47 plan am I missing?

EdHeath said...

Well, that was an off the cuff comment, and I would not be surprised that a close political observer would have a more sophisticated view. I just think that if you asked an ordinary Pittsburgher (who pays more attention to the Stillers and the Pens) if they remember one thing most prominently about Murphy, they might say Act 47.

Peaks and Gutters said...

"If Dowd had made an effort to get the African American vote (even DeSantis showed up on Perrysville Ave)"Ed, what are you talking about? Didn't you hear Dowd's opening statement when he related those anectdotes about all the people he spoke to in Elliott, Hazelwood, Troy Hill, Brighton Heights, and the Hill District (I believe his phrase was "the boy who was shot in the Hill District"). From that opening statement, we can only be led to believe that Dowd has been out canvassing and talking to the people.

I think I let out an audible groan as Dowd ticked off his laundry list of "men on the street" that he talked to in each neighborhood.

Bram Reichbaum said...

Not to sound holier-than-thou ... or something ... but I was impressed with Carmen Robinson. Did she get the job done, debate-wise? No I guess not really. But in terms of my own comfort level with her acting as my mayor I continued to be reassured.

P&G - Yes, it was a noble gambit, but he did not have the Bill Clinton touch.

EdHeath said...

Dowd might get a wee bit more mileage out of having a TV crew or even a lowly blogger record his efforts to reach out to minority commumities, not just having us "led to believe". Maybe Matt H is available to take some pictures of Pat.